The Home Office Accommodation project is a 29-year concession commissioned by the UK Home Office (the “Client”) to finance, construct, operate, and maintain a new headquarters building to replace its existing office accommodation with purpose-built serviced offices in Westminster, London under a public-private partnership (“PPP”) arrangement.
Since the start of operations, the public sector client and the private sector concessionaire have worked together to accommodate a 29% increase in occupancy. Furthermore, the project now houses not just one, but three departments: the Home Office, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (“DEFRA”) and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (“MHCLG”), with half of the concession period remaining.
In practice, meeting the Client’s needs whilst preserving the quality of staff’s work environment has required the PPP project company team to leverage both the flexibility enshrined in the concession contract through the disciplined implementation of the Change Protocol, as well as its technical and process management expertise.
The Change Protocol process will typically start with the Client sending a Change Request to the project company setting out its desired change to the PPP contract. In 2018 alone, the Home Office project company received 303 Authority Change Notices and implemented the equivalent of one variation a day.
A significant Change Notice effecting tangible improvements to existing services was completed in 2018 with the refurbishment of the main Reception and entrance at the Home Office. This involved enhancements to visitor and staff entry systems, increased staff resources to meet increasing occupancy and visitor levels, as well as improvements to visitor waiting areas and wayfinding. As a direct result of the works, all visitors are now processed in under five minutes.
InfraRed asset managers, acting as Directors on the Board of the Home Office project company, have also played a key role in the project’s transformation. The control and processing of variations to the PPP contract at the Home Office has been managed by the project company with Board of Directors’ approval as appropriate to reduce the potential for any delay to service delivery.
In accordance with established governance standards, PPP parties, including the Client, also attend monthly variation review meetings where every change, large or small, is scrutinised.
The project is a flagship example of the private sector leveraging the partnership model to deliver change and adapt to the public sector’s requirements throughout the life of a concession.